Category Archives: TripReport2009

12/24/2009 – Fish Creek – Calico Road

Date of Hike: 12/24/2009
Location of Hike: Going up the old road up Fish Creek - above the old road 54
Weather during Hike: Sunny but Cold
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:00 AM  End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a wintertime hike up Fish Creek on a decommissioned road. It is sometimes referred to as the Calico road since (I’m guessing) it goes to Calico Creek.

11/1/2009 – Olallie Lake Trails – 719, 723, 735, 733

Date of Hike: 11/1/2009
Location of Hike: Olallie Lake area Trails
Trail Number: 719, 723, 733, 735
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 8:00 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 11 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather for what may end up being my last outing this year. After asking some questions on some online sites, and some info from the new caretaker at Olallie Lake, I decided to try my luck and see how far I got. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to find, since it looked like there might be a fair amount of snow. The plan was to Hike the east end of the Red Lake trail, hike up to Timber Lake, then head up Red Lake to Potato Butte and then back down to Double Peaks and then back to where I started.

I got up early to do this hike, and left the house at 6:30. By 8:00, we were at the trailhead at Olallie Lake. I couldn’t believe the conditions. On the way in, I started seeing a little bit of snow at about 4200′. I figured I wouldn’t be able to get up to Double Peaks (almost 6000′). Once I got to the trailhead, there was VERY little snow on most of the trip. What was on the ground melted from the time I left to the time I came back. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS day.

To summarize the trip in a few words – Rocky, wet, chilly and totally cool. The trails were in good shape (thank you volunteers!), but due to all the snowmelt, the trails were under a lot of water. As many of these trails go through wet areas, the trail gets swallowed up, so it took some attention to watching the trail in order to keep following it. The trail would head into a wet area and you would have to hunt to find out where it exited on the otehr side of the wet area. Kept me on my toes. It was a rather chilly in the morning, and in the shade on some of the trails.

The lakes in the area are actually very nice. There are LOTS of them. Timber lake is a fair sized lake with some good camping opportunities around it. Next was Top Lake, which was another nice lake. Then there was Fork Lake, another named lake (there are LOTS of un-named ponds/lakes/bodies of water).

I wanted to head up to Potato Butte and find the “potatoes” that it was named for. My daughter and I were up there about 4 years ago, but we didn’t know about the potatoes, so we just went to the top for the view. This time, even though I was running late, I really wanted to see the potatoes. I found the side trail and snapped some photos. Since I was already running late, and since I had been there before, I didn’t go all the way to the top.

Back down the trail, taking the Top Lake trail which was a little bit of a detour from the way I came up. It heads up to Cigar Lake where you can take the Double Peaks trail up to the top of Double Peaks. When I got up to Double Peaks, there was a bit of snow on the trail, but not too much. I was able to stay on the trail all the way to to the top. The trail sheet says the trail is steep, and BOY were they not kidding! It basically walks up the side of the hill. With the snow, it made it doubly difficult. But, I made it up to the top and the view was astounding. Mt Jefferson was RIGHT in front of you and you get a 360 degree view. I could have stayed up there for a while, but I was still/already behind schedule, so after a few minutes, some water and photos, we left to head back to the truck. I will be coming back in the summer sometime.

To try and make up some time on the way back, we quickened our pace and since most of the trip back was downhil, it made it a little better. We made up most of the time we were late, and got back to the car a little after 2:00. A glorious day in the woods!

10/5/2009 – Baty Butte Trail – 545 – South End

Date of Hike: 10/5/2009
Location of Hike: Baty Butte Trail - South End
Trail Number: 545
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 5:00 PM
Hike Distance: 11 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Well, I really wanted to hike the south part of the Baty Butte Trail (I did the north part a few weeks ago), and I know time is running out for high elevation trails. So, I used one of my few remaining vacation days and went up and hiked from the 7010-160 spur down to Joyce Lake on the Baty Butte Trail. It couldn’t have been a nicer day to do it. The views were outstanding, the temperature was nice-a little cool first thing in the morning, but as the day wore on, it was really nice. I got a special treat on the way up-I got a beautiful view of the Clackamas drainage that was all draped in fog. The trail was above the fog, and it was pretty cool to see.

The trail condition varies from really nice to very poor, depending on where it is. I was able to find my way without too much difficulty. The notes on the trail page were helpful, but the one place I had trouble wasn’t mentioned. It was a rock slide that had become overgrown with vine maple and it was impossible to see the trail. I did some trimming in that area to help with the problem, however I ran out of time before finishing the whole section. The section of trail from Joyce Lake up to the ridge has been completely re-worked. Sawing out logs, brushing and even tread work. That part of the trail is beautiful-someone spent a lot of time working on it. The section from the spur road to the junction, and probably the first mile of trail is in very good shape. It has has quite a bit of work as well. After that, the trail comes and goes, sometimes very brushy, sometimes very faint. I kept my eye on the blazes, cut logs, and tread and was able to find my way fine.

The trail runs along the divide between the Clackamas and Molalla basins, and the views alternate between the two. On the southern part of the trail you get a great view of Table Rock and also the Molalla basin. It also passes underneath power lines which was kind of interesting to see (and hear).

One thing I did see – SNOW. Not a lot, but it won’t be long before trails like this are gone for the winter…

Another special thing I saw: Bear tracks in the snow. I also saw a couple of piles of bear and cat scat.

It was a long hike, and my legs are complaining tonight but it was well worth it. A very nice trail – glad I burned the vacation day…

9/12/2009 – Baty Butte Trail – 545 – North End

Date of Hike: 9/12/2009
Location of Hike: Baty Butte Trail - North section
Trail Number: 545
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:45 AM  End Time: 3:15 PM
Hike Distance: 8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike to explore the Baty Butte trail. It was forecast to be very warm, so I tried to leave a little earlier hoping to escape the heat a bit. The trail was easy to find, however the road going to the trailhead was a bit of an adventure. Nothing my truck couldn’t handle easily, but a few rough spots along the way. The directions to the trailhead were spot on. Had no trouble finding the trailhead at all.

We started out about 9:45 and had a great view of Baty Butte. Once on the trail, we quickly came to the junction of the main trail and before we knew it, were right under the “white spot” of Baty Butte.

From there, we continued around the East side of the butte and then headed East to an old decommissioned road to head over to Skookum lake. The trail is well flagged, however there are a few spots that were a little confusing. Did some brushing of the trail in the worst spots, but all in all, this trail is in great shape. There were a LOT of buzzing/flying things (flies, bees, yellow jackets) around. Fortunately, I didn’t get stung like I did last week.

Didn’t see a soul anywhere until we got to Skookum lake,

and rounded the corner to the campsite, and ran into a BUNCH of people (probably 10-15 people). They were all very nice and were waiting for the campers to leave and then had planned to stay the night. There wasn’t much to see, so we turned around and went back the way we came. Got back to the trail junction and decided not to go south, since we were running low on water and there really isn’t any water sources on the trail to speak of. The south section will have to wait for another day.

It was a beautiful day up there, not too warm. Most of the trail is shaded, and there was a breeze most of the time which kept it comfortable. The trail is beautiful, with LOTS of open vistas of the area. I can’t think of another trail in this area that has so many opportunities to view the surrounding area so well. Although I don’t particularly like hiking on old decommissioned roads, that part isn’t too bad. The trail down the road has been smoothed out a bit.

From the description on the TrailAdvocate site: Officially only a mile long trail skirting Baty Butte this trail actually continues some six miles along the Molalla-Clackamas divide running south beyond the powerlines and then down to Joyce Lake. Sometimes it is referred to as the Boundary Trail. There are two access points north: Lost Creek Meadows and the northmost point on the 7010-160 spur. As you drive up the 160 spur watch for Baty Butte — a distinctive white “beard” on it’s south face* — and as you turn away from it there will be a long abandoned deck of logs on the right. The trail is just over this deck. There is no real parking spot except for squeezing in off the road. This is a segment of the old South Fork Trail, formerly a first class route from Estacada to Bagby Hot Springs. The Lost Creek Meadows trailhead is on the right in a level stretch of road shortly after the end of the climb up the hill. There is room for a few rigs to park on the left. Two south access points are the powerlines (a wild flower paradise) at the crest of the ridge and at Joyce Lake left at the entrance to the lake (not at the lake!) at Joyce Lake Road (BLM). A powerline access road leads up to the crest of the ridge. Trail runs both directions along the ridge from the clearing.

Trail is maintained by users. The north three miles of the trail are better maintained than the south end. There are no signs. Trail survives by virtue of its scenery, wild flowers, and views. There is usually a breeze. An historic trail well worth investigation. Frequented by hunters in the Fall. Biologists have some interest in the flora. The route is not particularly strenuous.

7/9 – 7/11/2009 – Elk Lake Creek, Welcome Lakes Backpacking

Date of Hike: 7/9/2009 - 7/11/2009
Location of Hike: Bull of the Woods Wilderness
Trail Number: 559, 554, 555, 558, 557
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Carly
Hike Distance: Approximately 30 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
A 3 day, 2 night backpaking loop in the Southern part of Bull of the Woods wilderness. I did this as a quick plan, since I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. It was a little longer than I thought it would be, especially the first day. Here is how the mileage went:

Day 1 – 11 miles, plus about 1600′ of elevation gain in the last 2 1/2 miles
Day 2 – 10 miles – not too bad, but still a good day
Day 3 – 6 miles out (with backpacks) and then another 3 (without packs) up to the Gold Butte lookout.

This was a different trip than many I have taken with my daughter. In the past, we have backpacked in to a base camp, and then day hiked around to explore areas. This time, almost all of the mileage was with our backpacks on.

Day 1 was quite a killer day, especially since the last 2 1/2 miles was all uphill. 3 creek crossings (a new experience for me with a backpack),

unable to find lower Welcome Lake (where we had planned on camping) and major mosquitoes at the upper lake campground made for a tough day. We didn’t get there until about 7pm. It is a very pretty trail, however.

Day 2 – We started out by going back to look for the cutoff to lower welcome lake. We ended up finding it, however there wasn’t much of a place to camp, and you couldn’t see much of the lake due to the vine maple growing up around it. After eating breakfast and finding the lake, we set out on the West Lake way trail, bypassing the end of the Welcome Lakes trail. We saw a beautiful overlook, and saw West Lake,
which there is no trail to. It is several hundred feet below the trail.

After enjoying the view for a few minutes, we then headed over to the junction with the Schreiner trail, took that up the side of the mountain (a bunch of switchbacks) to the junction with what I think was the beginning of the Mother Lode trail. After a half mile or so, we dropped our packs and took the cutoff up to the Bull of the Woods lookout.

What a beautiful view from up there! The wildflowers were in full bloom, and most of the mountains were clearly visible.

We got a good view of Big Slide lake, where we camped a few years ago, as well as all the other peaks around.

After a half hour or so of resting and enjoying the view, we hiked back down, picked up our packs and continued on the Mother Lode trail. We came to the junction with the Pansy Lake trail, and continued south. We crossed a few more creeks, although none of these we had to get wet on (too bad, since the cool water felt REALLY good on some tired feet!). We came through a narrow canyon where Motherlode creek gets very narrow and deep. There was a cool campsite on the east side of the creek, but someone was camped there. We continued down the trail and the clouds started gathering and we were concerned that we would be getting thundershowers, so we ended up making camp at the last Motherlode creek crossing (right near the junction with the Geronimo trail). It ended up being a great idea, since it was a very nice campsite, and the creek lulled us to sleep.

Day 3 – We started out by having breakfast and breaking camp. Just past our camp is the Geronimo trail, an abandoned/unmaintained trail that is VERY steep, although it is a great shortcut through the wilderness area. We wanted to see the old Geronimo mine, which was only up the trail about a quarter of a mile. We found the site, and what we think was the old mine shaft, but after all this time, there really wasn’t much to see.

We continued on down the trail, crossing Battle Creek just before we got to the old Battle Creek shelter area where we were originally going to spend the second night. We passed through and took the trail back the lake and the truck. We got back to the truck a little before noon. We then ate a little bit and enjoyed soaking our feet in the lake before we left.

On the way home, we decided to stop and see the Gold Butte lookout, since it was right on the way home. It was supposed to only be a mile to the lookout, but it was a mile and a half each way, and it was several hundred feet up in the hot sun. Even though we were tired, we ended up making it to the lookout (which is available for rental).

The view from the lookout is one of the best views I’ve ever seen! It was absolutely incredible.

After enjoying the view for a few minutes and having a snack, we set back down the trail. We got back to the truck and ended up coming back through Detroit (rather than Estacada). We stopped at Dairy Queen in Stayton for a feast since we were both REALLY hungry.

A great and memorable trip, although I probably won’t go out of my way to go to Welcome Lakes again. I don’t know how they got their name…..

3/12/2009 – Clackamas River Trail – 715

Date of Hike: 3/12/2009
Location of Hike: Clackamas River Trail
Trail Number: 715
Weather during Hike: Sunny, a little breezy at times and a little cool (especially with the wind)
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 3:00 PM
Hike Distance: 11.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Well, I finally forced myself to get back out in the woods. I’ve been so busy with other things, hiking has taken a back seat. It has been probably 3 or 4 months, but with the beautiful weather I took a day off work and decided to see how bad the winter damage to the Clackamas River Trail was. I started from Indian Henry (the east end of the trail), and went to Pup Creek Falls and back. A little breezy and cool at times, but it was a very nice day.

The trail was in pretty good shape, with almost all of the downed trees cleared, except for a couple of REALLY big ones. There were a LOT of trees cut off the trail. I didn’t count, but I’m sure it was more than 50 of them. One of the really big ones had a foothold cut into to make crossing it easier, the others could either be gone around or under (if you squish yourself). All in all, the trail is in pretty good shape. I had forgotten how much beautiful old growth is on that trail. It has probably been 3 or 4 years since I did this end of the trail.

I had also forgotten about all the little waterfalls and the “grotto” that you walk behind. It is kind of like the big falls at Silver Falls, just on a smaller scale.

The other really nice thing was that someone made a very nice new bench seat next to Pup Creek Falls-even better it was made out of a cedar log, so hopefully it will be there for a while. The bench is very comfortable, and makes a great place to eat lunch and watch the falls!

4/5/2009 – The “other” Eagle Creek Trail – 501

Date of Hike: 4/5/2009
Location of Hike: The "other" Eagle Creek Trail
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 1:00 PM
Hike Distance: 8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Today was probably the best day of the year so far – The forecast was for temps in the 70’s and sunny. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of the nice weather. since it is still pretty early in the year, and we have had a wet, cool spring, the problem was finding a trail that was low enough to get to. In one of my hiking books, I found a reference to this trail – The “other” Eagle Creek trail – Not the one in the gorge. The book accurately detailed how to get to the unmarked trailhead, and also what to expect on the hike. The first mile or so of the hike is nothing to get excited about, since it goes down an old spur road, through a bunch of recently cut forest, and there are really no views or anything to look at. As you get farther down the trail, the better the view gets. At a little over a mile, you start hearing Eagle Creek, but can’t see it. Then the forest starts getting more mature. Finally, you get into some beautiful old growth cedar and hemlock (with a little doug fir), with LOTS of moss and lichen dripping from the trees. As I hiked along, lyrics from the old Beatles tune “Getting Better” kept coming into my head “Its getting better all the time”. The further down the trail I went, the more beautiful it was.

The trail moves closer and farther from the creek, but you can always hear it. We crossed several small runoff “creeks” along the way that fed down into the creek. There were a couple of nice camping areas as well. We finally got to an un-named creek crossing, and decided to turn around since the water there was deeper and faster than the other crossings. My feet were also feeling the effects of not being out too much this year yet.

This was a glorious day in the woods, on a beautiful, seldom traveled trail. It definitely deserves further exploration…..The trail keeps going another 4 miles or so up the creek. It would make for a good in and out backpack trip, as it connects with several other trails. It reminds me a lot of the Fish Creek area.